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    The Silver Wolf-The Honor Of The Crown: Order Of Precedence
    Posted on Thu, February 04, 2021 by LordCeb
    CruelSummerLord writes "Soon, with the humanoids all but defeated, the last few years of the Wars turned more into a conflict between humans, dwarves and gnomes. All three races fought both each other and their own kinfolk, and betrayals were rampant among all the races. While most of the humanoids were driven out of the mountains and into the Pomarj peninsula, the allies’ infighting ensured that some of them managed to stay or even return.


    Chapter Five

    Order Of Precedence


    The gnome aristocrat Arthur Cyruson pinched his long nose in frustration at the tumult around him. As a member of Flinthold’s ruling council, he was well known for his calm demeanor. His dark brown skin was accented by his slightly brighter chestnut brown hair and pale blue eyes, and he looked comparatively young for his age, with only a few strands of gray showing in his distinguished moustache and side-whiskers. His typical clothes of dark red and green were somewhat flashier than most Flintholders’, befitting his status as a noble, but they were tastefully restrained compared to many of his colleagues.

    Arthur was renowned for being able to keep his calm, but even his patience was being tested by the other councillors. He glanced from one to the other, silently praying to Garl Glittergold to give him strength.

    “So you’d have us just give in to them?” one of the other councillors said, crossing his arms as he scowled. “We’re supposed to act like badgers, but you have us acting more like moles!”

    His Excellent Honor Wilhelm Pontroy, High Regent of the Realm of Flinthold, spoke with the same bluster that originally led the other councillors to choose him for his illustrious position. His clothes, alternately silver and gold shot through with purple, were those of a gnome who made no secret of his aspirations. His reddish hair and moustache meshed well with his steel gray eyes and the perpetual flush on his face.

    “And you know the cunning moles possess, don’t you?” Moswen Tallyrach said, his quiet calm contrasting with Wilhelm’s fire. Moswen’s skin and hair were both somewhat paler than any of the other gnomes on Flinthold’s council, and even many Flintholders in general. His quiet, thoughtful demeanor often seemed drawn inward on its own contemplations, detached from his surroundings until he chose to speak. His clothes were more simple maroon and white, akin to what many of the more common Flintholders wore.

    “Moles shape the soil for their own gain, so that prey can come to them,” Moswen said. “Most other races and animals ignore them, allowing the moles to gather what they want without anyone else being the wiser. Badgers only fight when they’re cornered, and often against the likes of humans they can’t truly stand against.”

    Several of the other councillors murmured at this, as Arthur frowned.

    “If we tunnel correctly, we can trap Garnetholme. If they intrude further, then more of our people will support the war. We’ll also have more time to prepare,” Moswen said.

    That might have sounded wise, and Moswen’s supporters on the council certainly said so.

    Arthur, however, wasn’t convinced. If anything, Moswen and Wilhelm’s argument sounded like the Hateful Wars all over again.

    The Hateful Wars started when the humans, dwarves and gnomes of the Lortmils united to drive the humanoids out of the mountains. After some initial setbacks, the allies gained more and more of an advantage against the humanoids, with help from the elves of Celene. Unfortunately, as the allies came closer and closer to victory, they started plotting against one another to claim the richest humanoid territories.

    Soon, with the humanoids all but defeated, the last few years of the Wars turned more into a conflict between humans, dwarves and gnomes. All three races fought both each other and their own kinfolk, and betrayals were rampant among all the races. While most of the humanoids were driven out of the mountains and into the Pomarj peninsula, the allies’ infighting ensured that some of them managed to stay or even return.

    Flinthold fought a bloody conflict against the Steelheart dwarven clan in 508 CY. The gnomes would have lost without the help of Garnetholme, another gnomish kingdom. Even when Flinthold won, it didn’t seem like a victory. Flinthold was too weakened to stake a claim to most of the rich territories won from the humanoids. By the Wars’ end, it had very little to show for the conflict beyond a great loss of blood and treasure.

    Now, Flinthold and Garnetholme were heatedly disputing mining rights in one of their border regions. Flinthold’s council was meeting to decide their response, and they were deadlocked between the views of Moswen and Wilhelm. Each gnome had three other councillors supporting him, with only Arthur unwilling to support either side.

    Finally, Arthur slammed his fist down on the table, catching Moswen and Wilhelm in mid-sentence. They and their followers fell silent, turning to look at Arthur expectantly.

    “Why haven’t we even considered negotiating with Garnetholme?” he asked. “Why are we resorting to war so soon?”

    “Because they’re intruding on our lands!” one of Moswen’s followers pointed out. “Surely that’s obvious?”

    “No, it isn’t!” Arthur pointed out. “You all know as well as I do that title to those lands isn’t at all clear. Garnetholme has as much claim to it as Flinthold does on paper. If we spoke to Garnetholme’s king about this, we could come to an accord. How much bloodshed would we avoid if-”

    “If we show weakness?” Wilhelm said, interrupting Arthur. “Why don’t we just make Ruvell our new king while we’re at it?” he said with a sneer, referring to Garnetholme’s King Ruvell IV.

    Wilhelm’s eyes blazed with fury at that, staring daggers at Arthur, but Arthur didn’t flinch.

    “There’s no getting past it, Arthur,” Moswen said, as his supporters nodded. “That’s why we should let Garnetholme overreach. That’ll give us more justification for retaliation, and we’ll be better prepared…”

    And perhaps your friends in Garnetholme’s mining industry will give you a fine kickback off any profits they make from this overreach before a war starts, won’t they? Arthur thought, but wisely didn’t say out loud.

    “We haven’t even tried!” Arthur said, this time slamming both of his fists on the council table. “You talk of weakness, Excellency,” he said to Wilhelm, “but if it weren’t for our cousins in Garnetholme, we’d already be bowing to the Steelheart king! Surely we-“

    “-All know that your noble father served Flinthold well, and bequeathed his position to you,” Wilhelm said, that same sneer still on his face. The rest of the council turned away from Arthur and resumed their argument.

    Arthur pinched his nose in frustration again, wondering what was happening to his kingdom.

    "
     
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